In his first major political tour after the UP election debacle,Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday listened to leaders from Maharashtra expressing their fears about the growing aggressiveness of the NCP and called for focussed efforts to strengthen the partys base.
Rahul promised to tour the state more frequently,in an indication that he is keen to pay attention to the partys fortunes in one of the largest states it still controls.
While he made no direct comments on the NCP even when leaders expressed their dismay at the allys apparent betrayal tying up with the Shiv Sena and BJP in Zilla Parishads recently he did make a sidelong reference to infighting within the party.
Only the Congress can defeat itself, he told a gathering of over 1,000 members of Panchayat Samitis,Zilla Parishad as well as legislators and a few Parliamentarians,calling for better coordination between the party and the government. In another reference to the NCP,he said,In no region should we be lax in building our own base.
Though he reportedly promised students union leaders a study of the partys constituency-wise weak areas,Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and CM Prithviraj Chavan both denied that this was a launch of the partys mission 2014.
Elections are still two years away, Thakre said later, adding that Rahul had expressed his desire to initiate a dialogue with block and taluka level leaders purely to hear their opinions on party building.